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Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Substance Use and Chronic Pain

Employer: Washington University School of Medicine


Location: St. Louis, MO or remote


Salary: Commensurate with experience and NIH stipend levels


Discipline: Psychiatric Genetics, Behavioral Genetics, Statistical Genetics, Pain Research, Clinical Psychology, Bioinformatics


About Us:  I am an investigator at the Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. My research is focused on delineating the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of substance use disorders and frequently comorbid mental and physical health conditions. In collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Simon Haroutounian (Dept of Anesthesiology), we have a newly funded project (R03DA059747) on the phenotypic and genetic characterization of substance use and chronic pain in the All of Us research program ( This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a team that is exploring important research questions about substance use and pain.


We are seeking a motivated and curious Postdoctoral Research Scholar (in-person in St. Louis or remote) with research interests in the genetic and environmental factors influencing substance use and chronic pain. We would welcome applications from scholars with expertise in psychiatric or statistical genetics, pain research, psychology, sociology, or related disciplines. This is a two-year position, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

The Role: As a Postdoctoral Research Scholar (in-person in St. Louis or remote), you will be a core member of our growing research team. The overall goal of this funded grant is twofold: first, to characterize the phenotypic relationships between substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs; with a focus on alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and opioids) and chronic pain in the All of Us Program, including curating the electronic health record (EHR) data to categorize subtypes of chronic pain, examining the role of depression and anxiety in the relationship between SUDs and chronic pain, and characterizing the contributions of social determinants of health to SUDs and chronic pain in the All of Us data. The second aim of this grant is to characterize the extent to which shared genomic and biological factors contribute to both SUDs and chronic pain, again considering the role of depression, and using causal inference models to explore evidence for causal vs. shared pathways.

There will be opportunities to participate in other funded projects in the lab as well, including grants on prenatal cannabis exposure and the relationship between cannabis, tobacco, and psychosis, and you will have the opportunity to work with datasets including the ABCD Study, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, and the UK Biobank. We will fully support and encourage scholars to apply for their own funding, if that is of interest. Emphasis will be on individualized career development of the postdoctoral scholar as a whole. We are a highly collaborative and supportive research team, and you will have access to high-performance computing facilities, office space, grand rounds and seminars at the Washington University School of Medicine, and world-class clinical and translational research being performed at the Washington University Pain Center.


Your Contribution:

  • Conduct data analysis on the All of Us cloud computing platform

  • Contribute to and lead scholarly articles for publication

  • Present research findings at national and international conferences and seminars


Your Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Psychiatric Genetics, Statistical Genetics, Computational Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, Computer Science, or related field

  • Proficiency in R or Python

  • Experience managing and analyzing large, complex datasets

  • Experience working on a Linux operating system on a remote computing cluster or cloud computing preferred, but not necessary

  • Strong communication skills

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities

  • Ability to work independently while embracing the collaborative nature of our research team


Our Promise to You:

  • A role that offers the flexibility to craft a work schedule that aligns with your lifestyle and personal commitments

  • A competitive salary and benefits package that recognizes your significant contribution

  • Ample opportunities for professional development (including support for submitting grants for independent funding) and networking to further enhance your skills and broaden your career horizons

  • An inclusive, stimulating work culture that values your unique perspective and champions your ideas

  • The fulfillment of contributing to innovative research that could shape our understanding of the relationship between chronic pain and substance use


Washington University in St. Louis is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds and experiences.


Please email Emma ( with your CV and a brief cover letter outlining your research interests and experience, and the names/email address of 2 professional references. I look forward to hearing from you!

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